Alter Ego #162 January 2020 (magazine review).

As Roy Thomas points out in the editorial of ‘Alter Ego’, with the US/China tariff dispute, all TwoMorrows magazines are down to 82 pages for the time being so some material is being distributed to later issues. Even so, there is a brief remembrance to their writer Bill Schelly, who died 12 September 2019.Will Murray’s opening section to the latest issue of ‘Alter Ego’ will make you think about the evidence of a practice at National Periodicals and All-American Comics back in the late 1930s.

Cartoonists, hoping to break into these particular comicbooks would show up with their own characters and got turned down. They were given work but their characters appeared under different hands months later. We are talking names like ‘Batman’ and Wonder Woman and, years later, Nightwing. The evidence shown here will make you think.

Dan Hagen has a brief look at ‘The Golden Bat’, who looks more like a flying skull from Japan in the 1940s.

I know from Roy Thomas that he isn’t keen on self-praising but in February 2019, his home town of Jackson, Missouri held a day in his honour and one of its residents, Carly Jordan, submitted photos and a piece about it. Most we get in the UK is a plaque on the wall where famous people were born. At least here, we get to see then and now as Roy goes to various town locations so we do get some insight into his background and family.

Michael T. Gilbert continues his look and comparison between 1940s writer/creator Charles Biro and Stan Lee. Probably the strongest thing of note is the publishers using both of them as figureheads and giving them more work than they can cope with, ending up with a lot of other people working on their behalf.

Michael E. Fraley looks at the work of Sven Elven (1897-1969), a Swedish comicbook artist whose near super-hero status was drawing the magician detective El Carim but mostly known for his adaptations of the likes of ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘The Three Musketeers’.

All of the articles are larger than usual and many will make you think, especially the opening article. If you’re going to be educated on early American comics, this is the place to be.

GF Willmetts

December 2019

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 9.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it for 9.95 (US))

check out websites: and

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.